| The Beat |

Are Jews Worth Less Than Dogs in Today’s France?

"As France is shocked by authorities’ inability to deliver justice, the Halimi family will fight on"

The Backstory
Are Jews worth less than dogs in today’s France?

That question is being asked by some in the country’s Jewish community in the wake of last week’s shock decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals that the killer of Sarah Halimi shouldn’t stand trial because he was too high on marijuana at the time of the 2017 murder to be responsible for his actions.

“Both in the Jewish community and on French media, people can’t understand the ruling,” says Deputy Chief Rabbi Moche Lewin. “In a recent case in Marseille, a man who threw his dog from the fourth floor under the influence of cocaine was jailed for two years. So people ask, what’s the difference? And what if a person wants to kill his wife — can he just take cocaine and get away with it?!”

Sarah Halimi’s murder, in which Kobili Traore burst into her third-floor apartment and then threw her out of the window while shouting “Allah!” shocked the country’s Jewish community. But although the ruling is very troubling, Lewin says that there’s no anti-Semitism involved.

“The result would have been the same had the victim not been Jewish. There’s a loophole in the law that President Macron has said he wants to close.”

The Halimi killing came in a particularly violent period in French Jewish history, two years after the Hypercacher supermarket attacks in Paris. Although over the last year, the country’s repeated coronavirus lockdowns — including one in place since April 1 — have reduced anti-Semitic incidents, Pesach saw a large police presence outside shuls.

“This ruling comes while the economy and the whole country are in a bad situation,” concludes Rabbi Lewin.

But as France is shocked by authorities’ inability to deliver justice, the Halimi family will fight on. They hope that the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg will see reason where the French Supreme Court descended into madness.



is the princely sum that the state of West Virginia is willing to pay you to move there under Governor Jim Justice’s new “Ascend WV” program.

The logic is simple. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many workers have moved to work from home. With the end of the pandemic in sight, many bosses want to save on rent by encouraging employees to continue remote working.

For some professionals the question then becomes: why pay thousands of dollars for rent in New York, Washington, or Silicon Valley if it’s possible to live in a larger house surrounded by natural beauty rather than an urban jungle?

I personally know a number of people who have chosen to move back to the cities where they grew up in Michigan and Ohio, rather than face Washington’s steep costs.

Time will tell whether West Virginia is ahead of the curve and this is the beginning of lasting demographic change, as COVID-19 spurs a reverse migration, from big city to small town.

—Omri Nahmias


What’s Up

Chances of a fifth election in Israel. Given that Gideon Saar shows no sign of taking his six seats into a coalition with Bibi, who has anyway failed to persuade Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich to sit with Mansour Abbas’s Islamist Ra’am party, another roll of the dice is Netanyahu’s best hope.


What’s Down

Jewish security around Jerusalem’s Old City. In recent days, a troubling trend has emerged, as young Arabs have posted videos of themselves attacking yeshivah students on the capital’s light rail, outside the Old City walls, and outside Shaar Shechem. Are these unconnected incidents or a wave of “Tik-Tok terror”?

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 857)

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